Monday, June 1, 2009

Lasik


As some of you know, Cindy and I have both had the Lasik procedure done (only fixes eyesight, not hair...common misconception) so in case any of you with poor eyesight have considered the procedure, today's blog will give you an idea of what to expect. I had mine done at the Berkley Eye Center and Cindy had hers done at Eye Excellence. Both did a great job, but my place gave me vision like an Eagle. Cindy's new eyesight is pretty good too.

1. I went in for an initial free consultation, which only took about 15-30 minutes. You just look into a blue light and they run a couple of tests to determine the exact shape of your eye and depth of your cornea. No pain. They tell you right then whether or not your are a candidate, which most people are. They also explain all of the side-effects, give you the worst case scenario information, and go over the costs, which is roughly $2,000 per eye after the insurance discounts.

2. Had to go for a month without wearing contacts and then went in for a normal eye exam. Same tests they always do including dilating your eyes. This took about 30 minutes.

3. Scheduled appointment and went in for the actual procedure. I went in on a Friday morning so I could have the weekend to recover.

4. There was no wait. As soon as I got there I signed a few forms, gave them my check, and then they took me into a small waiting area. They gave me a Valium and made me lie down while it kicked in and they also put in numbing drops. After about 10 minutes they took me into the operating room where I lied down under the first laser. (At Cindy's place they didn't give her the valium until after the procedure to help her sleep)

5. They put what looked like a small magnifying glass (like we used in elementary school science class to count lady big spots) without the lens over my eye. It didn't hurt, but it just felt like there was a lot of pressure on my eye. As soon as they did it, everything went black. Slowly I could see light again, but everything was blurry for the remainder of the operation. Once they had the thing on my eye, they pulled the laser over it and I could hear a clicking noise. The laser created a serious of bubbles in a circular shape on my eye lens, which you don't feel. They did this to both eyes, which took about 30 seconds per eye and then I just had to lie there and wait for about 10 minutes while the bubbles continued to form and join together. There was no pain, only a little discomfort and obviously a lot of anxiety.

6. Once the bubbles looked right, they moved me to another chair with the second laser. They then took a sharp tool (looks like dentist tool to scrape off plaque) and worked it under my eye lens. They then flipped the lens open creating a flap. It feels and looks like someone taking out your contact lens for you, and although it was weird and I was freaked out, this part didn't hurt at all. They then moved the laser over my eye and I heard clicking again. The flap part took about 1 minute per eye and the laser took about 45 seconds per eye. They then put some gel stuff (it was cool and refreshing like I just squirted a whole bottle of natural tears in there) in my eye and folded the flap back on and did the same thing to my other eye.

7. Once they put the flap back on my second eye, I sat up and could see. It was crazy. Everything was kind of foggy, but it was sharp and in focus which I haven't see without contacts and glasses for a long time. They take you to a post-op room and look inspect your eyes to make sure everything looks ok and that the flaps are on there good and then they let you go home.

8. Once you get home, all of the numbing drops they had been putting in start to wear off and your eyes burn. I'm not going to lie, it sucks. I think the worst part is Step 5 when they put the magnifying lens thing over your eye and the second worst thing is the burning once you get home. But you're suppose to go to sleep for approximately 6 hours because your eyes heal the fastest while closed. Once I fell asleep and woke up later than night (around 6 or 7pm) my eyes felt fine and the burning was completely gone.

9. You have to take 3 different types of drops over the next week or so as well as wear goggle type things while you sleep. But as everyday goes by your vision improves. I had a follow-up appointment the next morning, the following week, one month after the procedure, and then a 6 month follow-up. The first week or so I was a little sensitive to light and had minor halos at night. Cindy, who already had bad halos at night, had really bad halos after the operation but those have slowly been going away with time as well. The morning after my procedure I had 20/20 and the week after I had 20/15 vision, which means that I can see at 20' what you average vision chumps have to be at 15' to see....eagle vision, babies, eagle vision.

I am a super big sissie. My eyes water at the mere mention of anything eye related. My eyes started watering trying to find a picture for today's blog. And the entire operation I was clenching my fists, stretching out my toes, and freaking out. But the operation itself was really not that painful and is probably better described as uncomfortable. I was in and out of the operating room in about 15-20 minutes. My point being that if I can do Lasik then I think anyone can do it. And for those of you that see debt as an effective management tool of wealth building, they do offer financing.

It's the little things that have been so great:
- waking up and being able to see the clock
- being able to watch TV/read a book and fall asleep in bed or on the couch without crushing my glasses or letting my contacts get plastered to my eyes
- not having to deal with glasses or contacts on the river
- not dealing with glasses slipping off my face while working out
- gaining all of the extra room in my dop kit (for you Justin) by not having to pack contact case, glasses case, eye drops, and contact solution

For those of you considering it, at least go the free consultation, it's worth 15 minutes of your life.


13 comments:

  1. Great post Jake as I think it is very informative. Heather and I made an arrangement that let her laser her hair removal and then I get my eyes back. I am going in for my pre-opt at the start of 2010. My brother had the Laski done three years ago and has not had too many issues. The only complaint he had is his eyes are more dry then they where. (Is that they case with you or Cindy?) Also he had to go in for a follow up this year for a second run on one of his eyes, which is very rare. Heather’s sister has also had it done for about three years and has never complained.

    Lesson 1 - Kevin’s freaky eyes: As some of you may know, I am legally blind and can’t see anything without my glasses… I cant even tell if you are a girl or a boy when you are two feet from me. My contacts are a process themselves and are only made when I order them. I am sooo bad that the factory does not even keep them in stock, which makes me wait 4 weeks for them after I place my order. If you look on the side of your contact box you see a negative number, like -2.0…that’s a good number for a contact wearer, I am -7.5…bad number. So my Laski will not be like “Eagle Eye Jake”. Thankfully I was not born in the middle ages!!! So I have to do it in 2010 as I need a full week down time for my operation. What they will do with my eyes is scrap the top layer of the eye (just like Laski – the black part). Then they will do the whole flap thing as Jake said (after the bubble thing), but here they will insert an organic lens. They then do the gel and poof, done. They said it takes about a week before I can drive; sense the lens has a longer healing time. They also told me it will feel like I have an eye lash or grain of sand in my eye while it heals (Would you describe the discomfort like that Jake?). The process is the exact same thing they do if you develop cataracts, so ask your grandma or grandpa about their surgery. I tell you this as I support Jake in the vote for “eye freedom” in the words of Brett and if you think your are to blind and you have no option, I am here to tell you, that you are wrong. I will bet you’re my horse, my cow and the whole farm that you have better vision then me ;-p

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  2. Thanks for the Lasik commercial. I appreciate the step by step description and the end result really does sound totally awesome....but I must be more of a sissy than you are because the thought of seeing them cut a flap in my eye makes me cringe so bad that I don't think I could ever go through with it. Do they have an option where they can totally knock you out? Because that would be awesome.

    Also, don't they require that you've had the same prescription for at least 2 years before they will even consider you as a potential candidate?

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  3. Moonbeam 3000 - Cindy had chronic dry eyes before the operation and it was really bad for about 2 weeks after the operation and now she doesn't even use eye drops. I didn't have any dry eye problems before or after the procedure.

    Yes you're right, some people have to go in for a follow-up Lasik procedure, but it is rare. If they have to do that, it does not cost anything, nor do any of the follow-up appointments.

    I had -7 in both eyes, which meant more time under the laser (about 45 seconds per eye vs. 15-20 seconds for an average correction). My understanding was that only people with a shallow cornea or a horrendous correction needed the lens implants you described, which is like a permanent contact lens. Perhaps your -7.5 is just over the cut off.

    Yes, for the first few days it feels like you have something in your eyes and you're not suppose to touch or rub them.

    I vote for eye freedom.

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  4. L - I thought that too, but I had to do it. Part of what motivated me was that I was having contact/eye problems and was having to wear my glasses which I hated doing. I just got the point where I couldn't take it anymore.

    I think they would tell you to wait if you've had a major change in your vision, but most people's vision stablizes after age 25 or so. My stigmatism changed about a year ago, but they said it didn't matter. Oh god, I hope it didn't matter!

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  5. Thanks Jake...maybe I'll think about it for awhile (a long while) and maybe I'll eventually come around to the dark side...or in this case I guess it is the light side :)

    (p.s. - Justin, look! I posted...twice!)

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  6. Yea, my left eye stigmatism adjusts every once in a while...but my contacts have stayed the same for the last 4 years. They also told me that my stigmatism would not affect it. My doc did tell me I had a 10% chance I could do that standard Laski if I have a thick cornia. My left eye is really a -8.0 and my right is the -7.5.

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  7. Moonbeam 3000 - Well hopefully you can! Maybe consider getting a second opinion also. With all of Cindy's eye problems she got two opinions just to make sure her normal eye doctor wasn't crazy or giving her wrong information.

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  8. I HATE THE MOTHER F STRUCTURE EXAMS...sorry for the bust of hatred, I had to write that down.

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  9. Ahhhhh Kevbo! Exam didn't go so well, eh? On a good note....you will get new eyes in 2010! Structures exam or not! And maybe the new vision will allow you to see the future and guess the exam questions or something like that.

    I wish I could get lasiks, but I am with Linds on the whole eye flap thing and all. Plus, with possible unemployment in my future...it wouldn't be responsible debt on my part.

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  10. I just got the at-home lasik package and I'm going to try and complete the procedure on my lunchbreak on the way to Wing Stop. If that isn't eye freedom I don't know what is.

    and Kevin, don't try and get in a "who's more blind contest" with me. I'm so blind I thought Lance Bass was straight. I'm so blind I thought Whoopi Goldberg was funny. I'm so blind I thought I had put on enough sunscreen at the river this weekend. I'm so blind they won't let me sing Amazing Grace at church.

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  11. Thanks Sarah for finding the silver lining and Brett I concede...hahahahaha

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  12. Thanks! That was very helpful. I think I am convinced. Actually I was pretty much convinced once you actually made it through the procedure. However, since I wear hard contacts (I know it is like I live in the middle ages), I have to not wear my contacts for six months! So I think it maybe awhile before I actually get it done, but I guess it will give me a chance to save. But otherwise I can't wait for my eagle vision. Thank goodness we have the same eye doctor - I would hate to settle for "pretty good" vision.

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  13. My eyes have always been perfect. Do they have anything like Lasik for Teeth? I could really use my original teeth back, or at least some tiger teeth. These fake ones I have are not going to last, and they definitely cost more than a wooden nickel.

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